Jepsen Expands Investigation Into 'Pervasive' Price-Fixing By Drug Companies

Attorneys general for 46 states are suing top generic drugmakers and a top Mylan executive for price fixing

A large group of US state attorneys general on Tuesday moved to expand a lawsuit alleging price fixing of generic drugs to 18 companies and 15 medicines on Tuesday, including Novartis AG's generic unit Sandoz and India-based Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

"We've uncovered through emails, text messages, and telephone patterns, plus cooperating witnesses a very compelling case of systematic and pervasive price fixing within the industry", Jepson said in a "Power Lunch" interview.

Besides Mylan, Teva and Heritage, the initial complaint named AurobindoPharma USA, Inc., Citron Pharma, and Mayne Pharma.

This is breaking news.

The states are also looking to add a second executive to its suit - Satish Mehta, the CEO of Indian drugmaker Emcure Pharmaceuticals. President Donald Trump this year accused pharmaceutical companies of "getting away with murder" with their drug pricing.

The states are seeking to expand the complaint to include Actavis Holdco U.S., Inc.; Actavis Pharma, Inc.; Ascend Laboratories, LLC; Apotex Corp.; Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Inc.; Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Ltd.; Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Lannett Company, Inc.; Par Pharmaceutical Companies, Inc.; Sandoz, Inc.; Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc.; and Zydus Pharmacuticuals (USA), Inc. Shares of Endo pared almost 8 percent off a more than 12 percent gain on the day, which followed the company's earlier estimate it would earn more than expected. A lawyer for the executive said Malik "emphatically and categorically denies the allegations". Endo spokeswoman Heather Lubeski said the company would vigorously defend itself against the claims.

The other companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The expansion of the suit requires the court's permission.

Jepsen said the number of generic drugs involved in the investigations has also risen, from the original two medicines to 15.

The price of doxycycline rose from $20 for 500 tablets to $1,849 between October 2013 and May 2014, according to U.S. Sen.

The result was higher drug prices for all.

A multiyear civil investigation by 45 states into alleged price-fixing of 15 generic drugs widened dramatically on Tuesday to include the No. 2 executive at pharmaceutical giant Mylan.

"Given direct involvement of executives in this case and the evidence we had implicating them, we felt as a group of antitrust enforcers, that it was important to hold these individuals accountable", Connecticut Assistant Attorney General Joseph Nielsen said on a conference call with reporters.

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